A classic doesn't just happen. It is created. And the 1963 Buick Riviera was the well-thought-out masterpiece of some of the best designers and engineers of its time.
It was a sumptuous car whose name appropriately conjured up vivid images of European sun resort of the very rich. With production deliberately limited to only 40,000 models per year, the Buick Riviera possessed an aura of sophistication and luxury quite as rare as that of the famous Mediterranean playground for which it was named.
Designed to offer some pretty stiff competition to other American luxury cars, the Riviera's body lines were a statement in refinement. Coupled with this classic style were also the hard-biting mechanics that propelled the Riviera beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary.
The engineers and designers of this automotive triumph worked to make the Buick Riviera the most beautiful mass-produced car in the country. Its razor-sharp lines, highlighted by an edge that streamed along the length of the body, were reminiscent of fine European coachwork....yet its simplicity was something wholly and refreshing American.
Loaded with mind-boggling interior plushness - seats of leather, rich wood-tone appointments, map and courtesy lights - the 1963 Buick astounded critics at the Paris Auto Show, who remarked on its handsome design and styling.
Its impressive 401 V-8 engine delivered 340 bhp and was capable of accelerating the Riviera to speeds that left no question as to its ability to perform alongside any of the competition.
Perhaps the advertising campaign for this beautiful piece of machinery was too successful....Buick had created a car that was the ultimate combination of luxury and performance. Fearing that people might interpret the Riviera's 'exclusive' image as meaning 'unaffordable', Buick decided to play down the advertising and pare down the options.
The beautiful 1963 model was the last to offer the suppleness of leather seating. The later models, while still classically styled, would have much more emphasis placed on their power than on their polish.